Source: Sherman Publications

School safety

by Phil Custodio

December 19, 2012

In response to the school-shooting tragedy in Connecticut last Friday, visitors should expect more security at Clarkston schools.

Security measures include requiring visitors to enter through main entrances and sign in at the office. All other doors will be locked. At some schools will be a note with a phone number to the office to call before gaining entry.

"If you are an unfamiliar face, you will be asked to show identification before entering," said Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock.

All front doors will be locked after school starts, and staff members will admit visitors this week, Rock said.

"For the past several years, staff has practiced lockdown procedures to ensure we know what to do when there’s an intruder," he said.

Clarkston Board of Education will continue to review and revise security policies, said board President Cheryl McGinnis.

“A report to the Board of Education is pending and I do see that school safety could be a topic of an upcoming board meeting,” McGinnis said.

In 2009-2011, Clarkston received a Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools grant to review district safety policies and procedures, coordinate response programs with local responders, in collaboration with Lake Orion and Oxford Schools.

The review included sessions with Michigan State Police Tactical Bomb Squad, Oakland County Health Department, local hospitals, Student Emergency Response Training, SWAT/tactical team school-intruder exercises, and chemical spill simulation.

District policies to protect students address hazing, harassment, bullying, and aggressive behavior toward students, disorderly conduct, search and seizure, weapons, safety standards, facility security, video surveillance and electronic monitoring, emergency evacuation of schools, and bomb threats.

"However, at first blush, none of these policies appear that they would have prevented what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School," McGinnis said. "Governor Snyder has stated this massacre has 'given him additional pause' as to whether he would sign SB 59; which would allow individuals with permits to carry concealed pistols after completion of additional training into gun free zones like schools – pause is necessary, as our nation looks to find answers to how we can control brutal, senseless acts upon others."